Patricia Cornwell Popular Books

Patricia Cornwell Biography & Facts

Patricia Cornwell (born Patricia Carroll Daniels; June 9, 1956) is an American crime writer. She is known for her best-selling novels featuring medical examiner Kay Scarpetta, of which the first was inspired by a series of sensational murders in Richmond, Virginia, where most of the stories are set. The plots are notable for their emphasis on forensic science, which has influenced later TV treatments of police work. Cornwell has also initiated new research into the Jack the Ripper killings, incriminating the popular British artist Walter Sickert. Her books have sold more than 100 million copies. Early life A descendant of abolitionist and writer Harriet Beecher Stowe, Cornwell was born on June 9, 1956, in Miami, Florida, second of three children, to Marilyn (née Zenner) and Sam Daniels. Her father was one of the leading appellate lawyers in the United States and served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black. Cornwell later traced her own motivations in life to the emotional abuse she says she suffered from her father, who walked out on the family on Christmas Day 1961. She has said, "He was on his deathbed. We knew it was the last time we were seeing each other; he grabbed my brother's hand and mouthed 'I love you,' but he never touched me. All he did was write on a legal pad 'How's work?'"In 1961, Marilyn left with three children in tow and moved to Montreat, North Carolina. Ruth Bell Graham, wife of the evangelist Billy Graham took the wayward family in and arranged for Cornwell and her brothers, Jim and John, to be raised by Lenore and Manfred Saunders, who had recently returned from Africa. Marilyn Daniels, suffering from severe depression, was hospitalized. Cornwell turned to Ruth Bell Graham as an authority figure, and it was she who noticed that Cornwell's talent lay in writing and encouraged her literary efforts. A bright student, a capable cartoonist, and a talented athlete on the tennis court, Cornwell attended King College in Bristol, Tennessee briefly before transferring to Davidson College on a tennis scholarship (which she later rejected), from where she graduated in 1979 with a B.A. in English. Career In 1979, Cornwell began working as a reporter for The Charlotte Observer, initially editing TV listings, then moving to features, and finally becoming a reporter covering crime. In 1980, she received the North Carolina Press Association's Investigative Reporting Award for a series on prostitution. She continued at the newspaper until 1981, when she moved to Richmond, Virginia with her first husband, Charles Cornwell (married in 1980), who enrolled at the Union Theological Seminary. The same year she began working on the biography of Ruth Bell Graham, A Time for Remembering: The Ruth Bell Graham Story (renamed Ruth, A Portrait: The Story of Ruth Bell Graham in subsequent editions), which was published in 1983. The biography gained a Gold Medallion Book Award from the Evangelic Christian Publishers Association in 1985. It also, however, was a major blow to her friendship with Graham – they weren't on speaking terms for eight years following the book's publication. Cornwell began work on her first novel in 1984, about a male detective named Joe Constable and met Dr. Marcella Farinelli Fierro, a medical examiner in Richmond, and subsequent inspiration for the character of Dr. Kay Scarpetta. In 1985, she took a job at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Virginia. She worked there for six years, first as a technical writer and then as a computer analyst. She also volunteered to work with the Richmond Police Department. Cornwell wrote three novels that she says were rejected before the publication in 1990, of the first installment of her Scarpetta series, Postmortem, based on real-life stranglings in Richmond in the summer of 1987. The novel won her various awards including the British John Creasey Award, the French Prix du Roman d'Adventure and the American Edgar Award. Scarpetta series The Scarpetta novels include a great deal of detail on forensic science. The initial resolution to the mystery is found in the forensic investigation of the murder victim's corpse, although Scarpetta does considerably more field investigation and confrontation with suspects than real-life medical examiners. The novels generally climax with action scenes in which Scarpetta and her associates confront, or are confronted by, the killer or killers, usually concluding with the death of the killer. The novels are considered to have influenced the development of popular TV series on forensics, both fictional, such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and documentaries, such as Cold Case Files.Other significant themes in the Scarpetta novels include health, individual safety and security, food, family, and the emerging sexual self-discovery of Scarpetta's niece. Often, conflicts and secret manipulations by Scarpetta's colleagues and staff are involved in the story-line and make the murder cases more complex. Although scenes from the novels take place in a variety of locations around the United States and (less commonly) internationally, they center around the city of Richmond, Virginia.There are two marked style shifts in the Scarpetta novels. Starting from The Last Precinct (2000), the style changes from past tense to present tense. Starting from Blow Fly (2003), the style changes from a first person to a third person, omniscient, narrator. Events are even narrated from the viewpoint of the murderers. Before Blow Fly the events are seen through Scarpetta's eyes only, and other points of view only appear in letters that Scarpetta reads. Cornwell shifted back to a first-person perspective in the Scarpetta novel Port Mortuary (2010). Andy Brazil/Judy Hammer series In addition to the Scarpetta novels, Cornwell has written three pseudo-police fictions, known as the Trooper Andy Brazil/Superintendent Judy Hammer series, which are set in North Carolina, Virginia, and off the mid-Atlantic coast. Besides the older-woman/younger-man premise, the books include themes of scatology and sepsis. Jack the Ripper theorist Cornwell has been involved in a continuing, self-financed quest for evidence to support her theory that Victorian painter Walter Sickert was Jack the Ripper. In pursuit of this hypothesis, she has written two books, Ripper: The Secret Life Of Walter Sickert published in 2017 and Portrait of a Killer: Jack The Ripper – Case Closed which was published in 2002. In total, she is said to have spent a reported $6m on Ripper-related research.She wrote Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper—Case Closed to much controversy, especially within the British art world and among Ripperologists. Cornwell denied being obsessed with Jack the Ripper in full-page ads in two British newspapers and has said the case was "far from closed". In 2001, Cornwell was criticized for allegedly destroying one of Sickert's paintings in pursuit of the Ripper's identity. She believed the wel.... Discover the Patricia Cornwell popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Patricia Cornwell books.

Best Seller Patricia Cornwell Books of 2024

  • Flash and Bones synopsis, comments

    Flash and Bones

    Kathy Reichs

    Kathy Reichs#1 New York Times bestselling author and producer of the FOX television hit Bonesreturns with a riveting new novel set in Charlotte, North Carolina, featuring America’s...

  • Savage Appetites synopsis, comments

    Savage Appetites

    Rachel Monroe

    A “necessary and brilliant” (NPR) exploration of our cultural fascination with true crime told through four “enthralling” (The New York Times Book Review) narratives of obsession.I...

  • Unnatural Exposure synopsis, comments

    Unnatural Exposure

    Patricia Cornwell

    Kay Scarpetta finds herself pitted against a possible bioterrorist in this suspensefilled read from #1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell. When a woman turns up di...

  • The Darkness Within synopsis, comments

    The Darkness Within

    Lisa Stone

    ‘The Darkness Within hooked me from the start. Once you start you won't be able to stop!’ Katerina Diamond, No.1 bestselling author of The TeacherA gripping new thriller debut that...

  • The Bone Bed synopsis, comments

    The Bone Bed

    Patricia Cornwell

    From one of the world’s number top selling crime writers comes the extraordinary twentieth Kay Scarpetta novel.A woman has vanished while digging a dinosaur bone bed in the remote ...

  • Predator synopsis, comments


    Patricia Cornwell

    Dr. Kay Scarpetta, now freelancing with the National Forensic Academy in Florida, takes charge of a case that stretches from steamy Florida to snowbound Boston; one that at first a...

  • Book of the Dead synopsis, comments

    Book of the Dead

    Patricia Cornwell

    Dr. Kay Scarpetta is starting over with a unique private forensic pathology practice in Charleston, South Carolina. But in this thrilling #1 New York Times bestseller, her fre...

  • Port Mortuary synopsis, comments

    Port Mortuary

    Patricia Cornwell

    The world's bestselling crime writer Patricia Cornwell presents the extraordinary eighteenth novel in the Kay Scarpetta series, in which Kay Scarpetta is confronted with a case th...

  • Bones Are Forever synopsis, comments

    Bones Are Forever

    Kathy Reichs

    #1 New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs, a producer of the Fox hit show Bones, is back with her fifteenth “pulsepounding” (Publishers Weekly) novel featuring North Americ...

  • Scarpetta synopsis, comments


    Patricia Cornwell

    From America’s #1 bestselling crime writers comes an extraordinary #1 New York Times bestselling Kay Scarpetta novel.Leaving behind her private forensic pathology practice in Charl...

  • The Last Precinct synopsis, comments

    The Last Precinct

    Patricia Cornwell

    In this #1 New York Times bestselling novel, Patricia Cornwell takes her readers deeper into Kay Scarpetta’s heart and soul than ever before….Thwarting an attack by a suspected ser...

  • Bare Bones synopsis, comments

    Bare Bones

    Kathy Reichs

    “Fans of TV’s CSI: Crime Scene Investigation should be in heaven” (People) stepping into the world of forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennanshe works with the dead, but she...

  • The Scarpetta Factor synopsis, comments

    The Scarpetta Factor

    Patricia Cornwell

    In this provocative thriller, forensic expert Kay Scarpetta is surrounded by familiar faces, yet traveling down the unfamiliar road of fame....It is the week before Christmas. A ta...

  • What the Dead Know synopsis, comments

    What the Dead Know

    Barbara Butcher

    A “remarkably candid and sensitive” (The Wall Street Journal) memoir of more than twenty years of deathscene investigations by New York City death investigator Barbara Butcher.Barb...

  • We Can See You synopsis, comments

    We Can See You

    Simon Kernick

    If you like David Baldacci, Stuart MacBride and Peter James, you'll love this frighteningly tense, spinetingling thriller from Sunday Times bestselling author Simon Kernick the UK...

  • Patricia Cornwell Reading Order synopsis, comments

    Patricia Cornwell Reading Order

    Mobile Library

    If you are a Kay Scarpetta series fan, this book guide is made for your, to keep track of the series and to read each one in the best reading order.You get all titles listed in ord...

  • Cruel and Unusual synopsis, comments

    Cruel and Unusual

    Patricia Cornwell

    “A knockout” (People) of a thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell featuring medical examiner Kay Scarpetta.“Killing me won’t kill the beast” are the l...

  • Shadow Hunter synopsis, comments

    Shadow Hunter

    Geoffrey Archer

    One renegade captain threatens disasterHMS Truculent is a nuclearpowered, hunterkiller submarine, and one of the most deadly weapon systems in the world. Phil Hitchens is its disti...

  • 206 Bones synopsis, comments

    206 Bones

    Kathy Reichs

    #1 New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs delivers another “outstanding” book (Publishers Weekly) in her “cleverly plotted” (The New York Times) Temperance Brennan series, ...

  • The Body Farm synopsis, comments

    The Body Farm

    Patricia Cornwell

    #1 bestselling author Patricia Cornwell returns to the chilling world of gutsy medical examiner Kay Scarpetta in this classic forensic thriller.Little Emily Steiner left a church m...

  • Spider Bones synopsis, comments

    Spider Bones

    Kathy Reichs

    Don’t miss this “whopper” (Publishers Weekly) of a thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs in her “cleverly plotted” (The New York Times) Temperance Brennan...

  • Full Disclosure synopsis, comments

    Full Disclosure

    Beverley McLachlin

    #1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER SHORTLISTED FOR THE ARTHUR ELLIS AWARDSFrom the former Chief Justice of Canada comes a riveting thriller starring Jilly Truitt, a rising, young defense attor...

  • At Risk synopsis, comments

    At Risk

    Patricia Cornwell

    Sparks fly and twists abound in this electrifying thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling crime author Patricia Cornwell.Massachusetts state investigator Win Garano is called h...

  • Blow Fly synopsis, comments

    Blow Fly

    Patricia Cornwell

    A cold case turns redhot when a deathrow inmate renews his acquaintance with Dr. Kay Scarpetta in this “utterly chilling” (Entertainment Weekly) #1 New York Times bestseller.S...

  • Trace synopsis, comments


    Patricia Cornwell

    Now freelancing from south Florida, Dr. Kay Scarpetta returns to Richmond, Virginia, the city that turned its back on her five years ago. Investigating the death of a young girl, s...

  • The Crucifix Killer synopsis, comments

    The Crucifix Killer

    Chris Carter

    THE FIRST CHILLING NOVEL IN THE ACCLAIMED ROBERT HUNTER SERIES  When the body of a young woman is discovered in a derelict cottage in Los Angeles, Robert Hunter is thrown into...

  • Kill Me Once synopsis, comments

    Kill Me Once

    Jon Osborne

    Nathan Stiedowe is seeking perfection and he has been learning from the best. Recreating some of the most sickening murders in history, his objective appears chillingly simple, bu...

  • Body of Evidence synopsis, comments

    Body of Evidence

    Patricia Cornwell

    #1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell’s classic forensic thriller, featuring gutsy medical examiner Kay Scarpetta.A reclusive author, Beryl Madison finds no safe h...

  • Stalker synopsis, comments


    Lisa Stone

    Someone is always watching… Derek Flint is a loner. He lives with his mother and spends hisevenings watching his clients on the CCTV cameras he has installed inside their home...

  • The Executioner synopsis, comments

    The Executioner

    Chris Carter

    A terrifying serial killer thriller staring Detective Robert Hunter in the bestselling tradition of Jeffery Deaver and Richard Montanari Inside a Los Angeles church, on the altar ...

  • Postmortem synopsis, comments


    Patricia Cornwell

    Discover the “dazzling…fascinating” (Los Angeles Times) forensic thriller that launched the New York Times bestselling Kay Scarpetta series from #1 bestselling crime writer Patrici...

  • It Had to Be You synopsis, comments

    It Had to Be You

    Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke

    In the latest thrilling entry in the bestselling Under Suspicion series by Queen of Suspense Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke, television producer Laurie Moran investigates the...

  • The Front synopsis, comments

    The Front

    Patricia Cornwell

    When Patricia Cornwell introduced a quicksilver, cuttothebone style and extraordinary cast of characters in At Risk, the result was electrifying. Now, America's #1 bestselling crim...

  • Patricia Cornwell FIVE SCARPETTA NOVELS synopsis, comments

    Patricia Cornwell FIVE SCARPETTA NOVELS

    Patricia Cornwell

    “When it comes to the forensic sciences, nobody can touch Cornwell,"The New York Times Book Review. From the author of The Bone Bed and Flesh and Blood, This set offers five novels...

  • Cause of Death synopsis, comments

    Cause of Death

    Patricia Cornwell

    #1 bestselling author Patricia Cornwell returns to the world of gutsy medical examiner Kay Scarpetta in the seventh suspenseful novel in the forensic thriller seriesOn a quiet day,...

  • Dead Even synopsis, comments

    Dead Even

    Annelise Ryan

    In Sorenson, Wisconsin, a local bigshot is found with a pool cue through the heartand Mattie Winston must untangle a web of lies to sink a killer . . .  In her previous career...

  • Bones of the Lost synopsis, comments

    Bones of the Lost

    Kathy Reichs

    #1 New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs returns with her sixteenth riveting novel featuring forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan, whose examination of a young girl kille...

  • Dust synopsis, comments


    Patricia Cornwell

    With unparalleled hightension suspense and the latest in forensic technology, Patricia Cornwell once again proves her exceptional ability to surpriseand to thrillin this electrifyi...

  • Black Notice synopsis, comments

    Black Notice

    Patricia Cornwell

    In this #1 New York Times bestseller Dr. Kay Scarpetta is on a deadly mission that will pull her in two opposite directions: toward protecting her career or toward the truth...Rema...

  • Red Mist synopsis, comments

    Red Mist

    Patricia Cornwell

    With hightension suspense and cuttingedge technology, Patricia Cornwellthe world’s #1 bestselling crime writeronce again proves her exceptional ability to entertain and enthrall in...

  • Scorpion Trail synopsis, comments

    Scorpion Trail

    Geoffrey Archer

    Alex Crawford has been out of MI5 and the combat zone for twenty years, but now fate has thrust him back into the front line.Though he is an aid worker, the secret service minders ...

  • Ruth, A Portrait synopsis, comments

    Ruth, A Portrait

    Patricia Cornwell

    Ruth Bell Graham is known as the wife of evangelist Billy Graham. It was Ruth who influenced Billy, as his most trusted lifepartner. In Ruth, a Portrait, we meet this fascinating a...

  • Point of Origin synopsis, comments

    Point of Origin

    Patricia Cornwell

    The clues to a series of remorseless killings go up in smokeand only Kay Scarpetta can find them in this #1 New York Times bestseller from Patricia Cornwell.“Sears its way into the...

  • All That Remains synopsis, comments

    All That Remains

    Patricia Cornwell

    #1 bestselling author Patricia Cornwell returns to the world of gutsy medical examiner Kay Scarpetta in the third suspenseful novel in the forensic thriller series that begins with...

  • The Third Grave synopsis, comments

    The Third Grave

    Lisa Jackson

    A thrilling new crime novel from the bestselling author of You Betrayed Me, perfect for fans of Sandra Brown and Iris Johansen! Return to the dark side of Savannah, Georgia where a...

  • The Unofficial Patricia Cornwell Companion synopsis, comments

    The Unofficial Patricia Cornwell Companion

    George Beahm

    The Unofficial Patricia Cornwell Companion is the first and only book devoted to this bestselling author and her beloved heroine, forensic pathologist Dr. Kay Scarpetta. It's the d...